The Difference a Weft Makes

Same warp; different wefts. In fact, they were four different fabric patterns, though all cotton. Beginning in the top left hand corner and going clockwise: Solid green weft; light green with vegetable patterns; lime, blue and yellow plaid; batik rotating from purple, blue-green and green.

This is one of the things that I find absolutely fascinating with weaving ... and story writing as well, quite honestly. The framework, or the weft, is the same yet when different characters or wefts are inserted, the book becomes different.

I realize that my books have a tendency to circle around the same topics be it arts, human trafficking or the church in general. While it is not a problem, it is something that I have to watch. My characters tend to be strong-willed, independent Christian women who are not afraid of a fight. Sometimes, my characters can sound like each other since the main characters are similar in personality. This problem often occurs at the beginning of the novel idea when I haven't developed the characters fully. When I start adding different wefts to their lives: family make-up, socioeconomic level, location and time-period, characters flesh out some more therefore when they come upon a similar topic - say women's positions in the church - they will respond to that topic differently. While one character would have no troubles with a woman preaching, another might.

On the opposite side of the problem, however, is viewing the same topic in different lights. Take slavery for an example: for the past hundred years or so, slavery has been illegal in the world. One human cannot own another human as a piece of property. Now, modern-day slavery is the same concept, but a different monster. In the past when slavery was common, there were those who preferred to remain in slavery even when they had the opportunity to leave. In some cases, these slaves rose to power over the freemen that they ruled. Take Joseph from Genesis as an example - he became second only to Pharaoh, but whether or not he was ever freed from slavery is never stated.

If slavery becomes the warp - the theme - how would a different weft look? Modern day slavery and its repercussions would be a different book than a historical novel set in Ancient Rome. While in one book, someone might try to escape, in the other book, the person might choose to remain.

Artist utilize this concept in their series. A collection of paintings, photographs or sketches done on the same subject whether it be a study for a larger work or the series itself. Taking a theme and circling around it with different viewpoints gives a stronger image of the topic. Azure's theme is living in the deep waters of the faith. What does it mean to live a life of faith? Is it easy? Hard? Impossible? Through out the series, this topic is covered and expanded.

In another series that I'm writing, the theme is a Christian's response to the arts. How should we respond to the arts? Are the arts something that Christians should pursue? If so, how do we pursue the arts in a godly manner? Can pursuing the arts be bad for your faith? How did the Church view the arts in times past? All these topics are covered under the one series, though I use the same topic in other books, just not to the same extent.

As you create whether novels, paintings, tapestries or quilts, I would encourage you to take a topic and view it from different angles. If you're struggling with a book, change the weft and see if something else makes it stronger.

How would you change a weft on a novel or project?

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